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Previous case establishing not inaccurate reporting by furnisher bars claim against CRA

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Alston v. TransUnion, LLC, 2017 WL 1628420 (D. Md. April 27, 2017)

The Plaintiff, acting pro se, alleges that the CRA’s violated two provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681e(b) and 15 U.S.C. 1681i(a)(1). The Plaintiff alleges that the CRA’s erroneously relied on the bare, unsupported statements of the furnisher to report that the Plaintiff’s account was delinquent and continued to rely solely on the reporting by the furnisher, in this case, Wells Fargo.

The court, citing Dalton v. Capital Assoc. Indus., Inc., 257 F.3d 409 (4th Cir. 2001), pointed out that the Fourth Circuit has interpreted Section 1681e to include an inaccuracy requirement, such that in order to establish a violation of Section 1681e, a plaintiff must show both (1) the consumer report contained in accurate information and (2) the reporting agency did not follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy.

Additionally, the Court noted that 1681i(a)(1) requires CRA’s to conduct a reasonable reinvestigation into the accuracy of the reported information, this Court previously held in this case that ‘inaccuracy’ is a requirement for claims under Section 1681i.

Notably, under the FCRA, an “inaccurate” report is one that is “patently incorrect” or “misleading” such that it can be expected to have an “adverse” effect.

In this particular case, the Plaintiff had filed a previous case against Wells Fargo – in that case the court ruled that Wells Fargo’s reporting to the Credit Reporting Agencies was not inaccurate.

Collateral Estoppel bars the relitigation of a previously decided issue even if the issue recurs in the context of a different claim. Because the issue of “inaccuracy” of the Wells Fargo reporting was already decided, the Defendant was collaterally estoppel from arguing the CRA’s reporting was inaccurate, an essential element of both a 1681e and 1681i claim.

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